FGF2 and EGF Are Required for Self-Renewal and Organoid Formation of Canine Normal and Tumor Breast Stem Cells

Cinzia Cocola, Stefano Molgora, Eleonora Piscitelli, Maria Cristina Veronesi, Marianna Greco, Cinzia Bragato, Monica Moro, Mariacristina Crosti, Brian Gray, Luciano Milanesi, Valeria Grieco, Gaia Cecilia Luvoni, James Kehler, Gianfranco Bellipanni, Gianfranco Bellipanni, Rolland Reinbold, Ileana Zucchi, Antonio Giordano, Antonio Giordano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


© 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Recent studies suggest that human tumors are generated from cancer cells with stem cell (SC) properties. Spontaneously occurring cancers in dogs contain a diversity of cells that like for human tumors suggest that certain canine tumors are also generated from cancer stem cells (CSCs). CSCs, like normal SCs, have the capacity for self-renewal as mammospheres in suspension cultures. To understand how cells with SC properties contribute to canine mammary gland tumor development and progression, comparative analysis between normal SCs and CSCs, obtained from the same individual, is essential. We have utilized the property of sphere formation to develop culture conditions for propagating stem/progenitor cells from canine normal and tumor tissue. We show that cells from dissociated mammospheres retain sphere reformation capacity for several serial passages and have the capacity to generate organoid structures ex situ. Utilizing various culture conditions for passaging SCs and CSCs, fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) were found to positively or negatively regulate mammosphere regeneration, organoid formation, and multi-lineage differentiation potential. The response of FGF2 and EGF on SCs and CSCs was different, with increased FGF2 and EGF self-renewal promoted in SCs and repressed in CSCs. Our protocol for propagating SCs from normal and tumor canine breast tissue will provide new opportunities in comparative mammary gland stem cell analysis between species and anticancer treatment and therapies for dogs. J. Cell. Biochem. 118: 570–584, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-584
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2017


  • FGF2
  • STEM


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